All-round Nicole Bolton leads Scorchers to victory in last over thriller

Maryam Mallick
New Update
Nicole Bolton joins Lancashire Thunder for the Kia Super League

Nicole Bolton smashed a century. ©BCCI

The Perth Scorchers took on Sydney Thunder again at Lilac Hill, hoping to make it two wins from two. They managed to do, registering a nail-biting three run win over their opponents, in a low-scoring thriller.

Batting first, for the Scorchers, it seemed like they were playing on a completely different pitch. In contrast to their blistering start yesterday, the Scorchers batters struggled today as the Thunder bowlers did well to reduce their opponents to 30-3 in the Powerplay. They sent all three; Meg Lanning, Amy Jones and Heather Graham back for single digits. The Scorchers were also without Elyse Villani, who was rested as she recovered from the leg injury she sustained yesterday.

Chloe Piparo then came to the crease and showed some aggression, hitting the only six in the Scorchers innings, before departing for 19 off 17. Reduced to 44-4, the Scorchers needed their experienced players, in Nicole Bolton and Lauren Ebsary, to steady the ship and they delivered. Though they had to labour for their runs, with boundaries being a rarity, the two ran well between the wickets in their 78 run stand. They lifted up the Scorchers run rate and made a target of 130 within attainable distance, which did not look likely after their disappointing start. At the end of the 19th over, Scorchers were at 122-4. However, as the two set batters looked to exploit the last over, they were both dismissed. Bolton for a hard-earned 41-ball 50 and Ebsary for 33 off 31. The two new batters were unable to score quickly and, at the end of the innings, Scorchers had to settle for 127-7.

Some incredibly disciplined bowling at the beginning of the innings exerted pressure on the Scorchers, with Lisa Griffith making two early breakthroughs. She finished with figures of 2-17, while Rene Farrell claimed two wickets for 21 runs. Nicola Carey and Stafanie Taylor also chipped in with a wicket each.

To defend such a low total, the Scorchers needed early wickets and Bolton got them off to the perfect start when she had Rachel Priest caught by Lanning, off the third ball of the innings, for a duck. Another breakthrough soon followed with Bolton dismissing Naomi Stalenberg in her next over. A chance was then created by Piepa Clearly off the first ball of her over, but the catch of Rachael Haynes was dropped. The batters had crossed and Alex Blackwell was on strike. To add salt to the Scorchers' wounds, Blackwell took Cleary for consecutive boundaries off the next three deliveries.

After being dropped on 10 and 26, Haynes was finally dismissed by Graham for 33 off 30, ending a 56-run partnership between her and Blackwell and giving the Scorchers a much needed breakthrough. With both batters accelerating, Graham was brought into the attack. She was immediately effective, dismissing Haynes and bowling a maiden over. Nine runs later, Blackwell followed Haynes, bowled by Kate Cross.

Harmanpreet Kaur and Taylor then needed to rebuild the innings. The two were stifled by the Scorchers bowlers and did not get too many bad deliveries that they could score off of. As the Scorchers stemmed the run rate, pressure built. What had looked to be an chase for Thunder, had now dragged into the last over. Thunder required nine runs off it. Graham bowled brilliantly in, dismissing Kaur off the first ball. A double came off the next ball, but Graham conceded no boundaries and the Scorchers won by three runs.

The hosts will be relieved that the dropped chances did not cost them. Bolton and Graham claimed two wickets each, Bolton going for 30 runs, Graham for a miserly eight. For for all-round performance, Bolton was named Player-of-the-Match.